By Jim Whelan
Kyrie Irving’s arrival at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth created a lot of expectations. He went from being a huge fish in a big pool to a large fish in a larger pool.
Irving had already established a successful career and was a 1,000-point scorer with a state championship at Monclair Kimberley Academy. Demanding something more from himself, Irving transferred to St. Pat’s and chose to sit out 30 days in order increase his profile as a legit blue chip college basketball prospect.
Irving gave the “Cameron Crazies” another reason to cheer when he committed to play his college basketball career with Duke Blue Devils.
“The Jersey connection helped in the recruiting process,” said Kevin Boyle, Irving’s high school coach. The last three Blue Devil National Championship have been directed by Jersey guard play – Bobby Hurley of St. Anthony High School led the 1991 and 1992 squads, while Jason Williams of St. Joseph’s of Metuchen led the team in 2001.
Dexter Strickland, a former teammate of Irving’s, is now attending the University of North Carolina. This relationship will bring another wrinkle in the heralded Duke-North Carolina rivalry.
Sometimes overlooked because of senior teammates Irving and Michael Gilchrist and the arrival of Julian and Chris Washburn is Kevin Boyle, Jr.
Boyle Jr, “is one of the top 20 players in the state,” according to his father and coach. Last season, injuries to Dexter Strickland and Irving’s 30-day ineligibility period, Boyle Jr. went up against some best competition in the country and delivered for his team.
“Kevin does three things very well. He feeds the post very well; he might be the best in the state. He’s a really good on-the-ball defender, and he is very good long-range shooter,” said the elder Boyle. “He needs to improve on being consistent with his shots to stretch the defense and being a little patient on running screens.”
With two Tournament of Champions titles to his playing resume, Boyle Jr. is ready to take a larger role in his final year at St. Pat’s.
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